Minneapolis Launches “Talking is Teaching” Campaign to Close Word Gap

By Maya Fanjul-Debnam

By age four, children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words than their more well-off peers, setting them on very different trajectories for early literacy. The disparity is jarring, and in order to combat it, Minneapolis launched a language development program called ‘Talking is Teaching.’

The campaign is meant to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their children every day. It sounds simple, but this helps strengthen language skills at a crucial time in a child’s life. Studies show that the most critical time for brain development is from birth to age three. The first three years of life are when all of the neuron connections are occurring, something that can’t happen without stimulation from a relationship-based encounter.

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Think Small to Compete in First #TourDeNice

Marie-Huey-TDNBy: Maya Fanjul-Debnam

Cyclists will hit the streets of downtown Minneapolis for a good cause on Saturday July 9. Nice Ride and The Minneapolis Foundation have teamed up with several local nonprofits to host the first ever #TourDeNice. Think Small is excited to be a part of this new and exciting event.

A dozen cyclists will compete in a Nice Ride bike race to win prize money for their respective charities. The race starts and finishes at Gold Medal Park, with the winner being whoever visits the most Nice Ride bike stations between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

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Think Small Bringing Cutting Edge Program for Child Care to Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting

Pres Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting about the importance of early learning. Think Small is thrilled to share new, cutting edge approaches to reducing opportunity and achievement gaps at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America meeting in Atlanta this month.

It’s an enormous opportunity to attend this meeting with past presidents, Fortune 500 CEOs, U.S. Senators, mayors, and many other key influencers. CGI America convenes organizations and leaders to collaborate together through small group discussions organized by topic. Each participant must make a Commitment to Action: a new, specific, and measurable plan that supports increased economic growth and opportunity. To date, CGI America participants have made more than 500 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 2.4 million people.

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Policy Hour Breaks Down End of Legislative Session

June Policy Hour 2016 3[1]The Minnesota’s Future June Policy Hour reviewed the 2016 legislative session, combing through a list of proposals that passed, did not pass, and some that still may pass if a special session is called. On hand to explain the information were Ann McCully, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota, Valerie Dosland, lobbyist at Ewald Consulting, and Ben Horowitz, Policy Advocate at the Minnesota Budget Project.

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2016 Legislative Session Overview: Early Care and Education Key Priority in Minnesota

MN capitolGovernor Dayton signed the supplemental budget bill today, allocating $182 million in funding this year and $300 million of funding over the next two years. He is still reviewing the tax bill and determining whether to call a special session to deal with the transportation and bonding bills. While not all of Think Small’s policy priorities were successful, early learning was once again one of the main points of discussion. We hope this sets the stage for good conversations on the campaign trail this summer and fall regarding access to high-quality early learning opportunities based on the needs and choices of families.

Below is a list of efforts that did and did not pass, along with a more detailed description of the Voluntary Pre-K Program.

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